As many of you are aware, WWE Network is pretty packed with all sorts of content. And as you may also know, we here at Place to Be Nation love long term, in depth projects. So, as part of this initiative, JT Rozzero, Chad Campbell, Jason Greenhouse, Scott Criscuolo & Dan McGinn are starting in 1975 and are planning to watch the entire offering of the WWE Network chronologically. They have plotted their course and after watching each program, they will share their thoughts, notes and recommendations with our readers. So, settle in and enjoy this epic ride through wrestling history!
Tuesday Night Titans 10/1/84
Run Time: 1:35:06
JT: it was brief and not his best work but I really enjoyed Bobby Heenan’s Advice for the Lovelorn. He was so dismissive and such a prick and never breaks, staying steadfast the whole way through. Vince McMahon losing his shit at the last letter about the scar was pretty funny too. Heenan is a gem and this was easily my favorite segment to watch. The Sheik stuff had some good moments too but went on a little too long overall.
Jason: I’ll go with Bobby Heenan this week. He was locked in for his TNT debut. Right out of the gates, it was classic Bobby. The Advice to the Lovelorn segment with Bobby was the perfect idea to showcase just how great Bobby is. The Brain was on fire with his sharp wit and playing the asshole heel. Vince kept on hiking Bobby the ball with the questions and Bobby ran it to the end zone every time.
Dan: I’ll go with Bobby doing the Hearts and Flowers segment with Vince reading the anonymous letters about the love lives of wrestlers. Bobby nailed every answer and we caught a glimpse of his trademark sharp wit and improv skills. Telling an old lady to hop out of her rocker, put on some nice cologne and get her guy more motivated was phenomenal. And unlike Vince, he didn’t lose it on the last question regarding that man’s six inch… scar on his face. “She should be grateful he has six inches of anything.” Amazing stuff from the greatest of all-time!
Scott: I think Bob Bradley getting pissed at B. Brian Blair was funny, even if it was staged. The Iron Sheik with his harem was great too, although the camel stuff went on a bit too long. Buddy Rogers as a guest was a great surprise, as Vince was still acknowledging the past before blowing things up nationally. Bobby’s TNT debut was straightforward but we will thankfully see more of him.
JT: I will go with Adrian Adonis, Dick Murdoch and Gene Okerlund. The whole trio was really entertaining in the opening segment. Adonis was fantastic yet again, flipping out when he was stranded on a random Texas road and then struggling to appreciate or grasp anything that Murdoch tries to teach him. And Gene can’t be overlooked either as he coolly moves things along, dropping in zingers here and there along the way. Honorable mention to Bobby Heenan, who was locked in throughout his segment.
Jason: The trio of Gene, Adrian Adonis and Dick Murdoch were untouchable here. Gene was on fire throwing out gags to the locals while searching for Murdoch. Also, seeing Gene ride a horse in a tuxedo was a sight to see. Adonis as the city slicker out of his comfort zone was tremendous. Murdoch was so good as the host showing Gene and Adrian the ways of a local good ol’ boy. Adonis’ whining and bitching about being hot and the area not having a subway system added to the pleasure of watching this segment.
Dan: I’ll go with Gene for being a good sport as always this time in Dick Murdoch’s neck of the woods. He just played well off of all those Texans and seeing him on a horse in that suit was hysterical. Adonis was funny too reminding me of Joe Pesci in My Cousin Vinny. He stood out like a sore thumb out in the country crying about no subways or yellow cabs anywhere. He also looked like he took some nasty bumps trying to bulldog those steers or even getting onto a horse. These types of bits save TNT for me as a viewer.
Scott: The Iron Sheik gets my nod because when you get that much time to totally flaunt your heelness you take advantage of it and Sheik certainly did. He was still a top flight heel and it showed. Trash talking Slaughter and Hogan was definitely the way to go with his title loss still fresh in everyone’s minds.
JT: I was surprised at the extensive showcase given to Brian Blair. We got an interview, a long match and then an amateur and professional wrestling display and tutorial. He spoke well and was presented like a star on the rise, much more than I expected when the segment began. Bradley getting pissed at the end and things deteriorating into a forearm tossing contest was funny too.
Jason: I’ll go with Brian Blair this week. They seemed to have big plans for him with the lengthy segment that he was given here. The mat wrestling segment with him and Bob Bradley brought something fresh to TNT and was a little educational. Of course, by the end things could have gotten quite ugly after the cheap shots were thrown.
Dan: Billy Travis. That guy showed some pep against the former WWF Champion. I couldn’t believe he got that much offense in against Sheik. He had an exciting near-fall on a high cross body, got in some strikes not normally thrown by a job guy and even landed a bodyslam before eating that wicked German suplex. Who is this guy? Do you care? Well his career highlight is appearing in this column. Congrats!
Scott: I was definitely surprised that Vince mentioned Harley Race (who was still feuding with Ric Flair in the NWA) or that Alfred mentioned all those regional titles and the NWA World Title (which Flair held at the time). Of all the guys that Vince has had on TNT that were obviously friends of Vince Senior, Buddy Rogers was the special get, although Lou Thesz was on an earlier episode. They apparently didn’t get along, but having them on the same show would have been cool.
JT: Buddy Rogers parading his son around and bragging about him putting on 100 pounds of muscle in a short span of time felt a bit much. I get what they were going for but it came off as creepy and portrayed Buddy as a stage mom more than a legend.
Jason: Not too much to choose from here, but I was hoping the Murdoch & Adonis segment was longer. These two have amazing on-air chemistry and play the odd couple role so well.
Dan: I’ll go with the Iron Sheik stuff towards the end. God that whole thing was painful to watch. No matter what language he speaks, I don’t have the foggiest idea what that guy is talking about. Alfred gave me the willies (and not of the Steve variety) when talking about the camel’s skin and wanting to make suits out of it. I was praying for technical difficulties to cut this short like the camel spitting on the camera but no such luck.
Scott: I was disappointed that Bob Bradley didn’t snap and throw B. Brian Blair through the set or smacked him with a chair. That would have been awesome, as he seemed legitimately pissed that Blair cheap shotted him with the forearms. It was probably staged so Blair could hook him in that pinfall situation, but Bradley still seemed pissed.
JT: Very cool idea to revisit the Murdoch & Adonis integration idea and now have Dick show Adrian what life is like in Texas, and of course having Gene Okerlund driving around trying to find them was awesome again as well; Was great seeing Bobby Heenan finally brought out onto set; They love mentioning Minnesota on these shows, which makes sense but still really sticks out; Heenan getting pissed at Lord Al was really good, especially his dead stare after Hayes sang to him; Always a treat to get a Sarge match and he was super over here and the post match attack and brawl was solid; Tough spotlight match for Brian Blair as he tags with a jobber against the Moondogs, but it was a long match and the crowd was eating it up… and he won it!; Weird hearing Vince mention Harley Race out of nowhere without prompting; Vince’s annoyed eye roll when Alfred fucks up the letter about Don Muraco was awesome; Fun chat with Buddy Rogers, who gives some very good advice but that ended quickly when his son came out; David Rogers putting on 100 pounds in a couple of years doesn’t seem quite healthy; Vince and Sheiky with the harem was quite the scene; Sheik’s match was long too, lots of wrestling on this episode; Sheik including “pistachio” in the list of things he has unlimited access to gave me a chuckle; “Very good Iranian hay” was good too as was Sheik saying the camel ate better than Slaughter; Weird little clip showcase of Brutus Beefcake but was pretty effective and probably better than showing a full match considering who was involved; Vince’s “we have been doing that already, haven’t we?” to Sheik when he wanted to say hi to the Iranian people at the end was a good closer
Jason: Gene showing up to Murdoch’s neck of the woods in a Cadillac and full tuxedo is one of the most Gene moments of all time. John Trammell offering Gene some chewing tobacco was fantastic. This entire segment was a great spin-off of Adonis and Murdoch on the streets of NYC. It was pretty cool that Bobby made his WWF debut in the Twin Cities. A crowd that knew exactly who he was and a big FU to Verne. Alexis Smirnoff ranks up there with George Steele as one of my least favorite people to watch in the ring. He’s like a discount Russian. No where near the level of Nikolai Volkoff and the Russian’s from the NWA. The crowd sure did love the Sarge though. You can tell Vince meant business by having these shows in the Twin Cities and St. Louis. Brian Blair came off as an extremely cookie cutter babyface, but was well spoken and seemed very comfortable chatting with Vince. Spike Huber showing up as Blair’s tag partner was random. I’ve always enjoyed watching the Moondogs. An underrated team in the business. Blair’s segment with Bob Bradley was a little strange, but added something new to the show. A nice spotlight for Blair here. It would have been great if Bradley went ape shit on Blair after that cheat shop forearm. The Hogan and Richter mailbag question must have been a rib, because we’ve all seen the lust in Hogan’s eyes for Wendi in past TNT episodes. I haven’t been a fan of some of the old timers that have shown up on past Titans episodes, but having Buddy Rogers here just felt right. It was quite clear that Vince was a big Buddy fan and marks out like a kid for the Nature Boy. David Rogers must have got into Ivan Putski’s medicine cabinet. Vince losing his shit reading the last question to Bobby was unbelievable. The six inch scar stuff was so well worded and Bobby killed it. The Iron Sheik stuff was pretty long, but quite enjoyable. He brought a long a couple of Iranian WHOARES that would make J. Arsenio D’Amato proud. Sheik is one of those guys who seems to never have a bad TV match. Poor Billy Travis doing the favor again. Early Brutus Beefcake matches are not easy to watch. Thank God he has friends with stroke in this company, BROTHER!
Dan: Gene always gets the inside scoop on his subjects like what it’s like to work for Dick Murdoch. Sadly I don’t think John Trammell ever worked in that town again after those comments. Murdoch was awesome with his “they don’t get paid to talk” comment. I definitely laughed when Adonis said that “the only thing that grows around here is dirt.” I will pay good money to someone who can get me Dick Murdoch’s grandfather clock. Even in a new company, those Minnesota fans love tormenting Bobby. He later says that Alfred looks like he fell off a wedding cake in that suit which drew huge laughs from my family room. Slaughter is no fan of the U.S.S.R. Even while beating on Smirnoff, he found time to share with him the virtues of being American. There is something incredibly devastating about being attacked by a Russian boot. Moon Dog Spot looks like a Hobo Santa. Did you know… Spike Huber was the real life son-in-law of Dick “The Bruiser.” Thank you internet! I’m pretty sure Bradley wasn’t just playing around with Blair with those stiff forearms. That segment got uncomfortable and not just because Bradley insisted in going shirtless the whole time. The Iron Sheik is easier to listen to when the camera focuses on the belly of a dancing young woman while he speaks. Sheik brings a camel on the same night Bobby makes his TNT debut! That joke will make more sense in 1993.
Scott: This first vignette proves that regardless of the gimmick, Adrian Adonis was immensely entertaining and always was a great heel; Alfred singing “Pop Goes the Weasel” is pretty awkward; B. Brian Blair and Iron Sheik on the same show. Is THIS where the feud began?; Spike Huber wearing the official colors of Coliseum Home Video; Alfred has a normal tuxedo on for once; Vince actually acknowledged Harley Race on the show; I wonder if that Hogan/Richter romance mailbag question was a plant. They did seem very chummy when they were on together in that previous episode; Bob Bradley should have heeled out and thrown Blair through the back of the set; Even at his advanced age, Buddy Rogers still held that aura of greatness with him; Wow even the NWA World Title was acknowledged. Was Kayfabe already dead?; It seemed very odd that Vince would start a special segment with Bobby, then jump right into an unrelated match. Seemed like a format screw up; Vince breaking up during the scars letter was classic, but Bobby staying straight and giving a classic answer is even better; The Iron Sheik segment ran long but was pretty great; This Brutus Beefcake montage pretty much showed that he was VERY green in the ring at that time;
Consensus Best WWE Network Match to Date: Roddy Piper vs. Greg Valentine (NWA Starrcade 11/24/83)
Consensus Worst WWE Network Match to Date: Ivan Putski vs. Baron Von Rashcke (Madison Square Garden, 6/27/77)
JT: This is certainly one of the better TNT episodes we have seen on this journey. It showcased a lot of entertaining characters and had a good balance of in ring action, interviews and bits. The show ran more smoothly than normal too as you can tell Vince and Alfred are getting more comfortable with everything. Bobby Heenan is amazing throughout this whole episode, his wit and character on full display, especially how he maintains and doesn’t break as Vince is losing his shit. The Iron Sheik stuff definitely went on too long but there was enough in there to give some laughs. I liked the Blair bit too, and of course Adonis and Murdoch were funny yet again. Not many complaints this week, but the show does feel about 30 minutes too long at this point. Final Grade: 5.5/10
Jason: This was a ton of fun. Buddy Rogers showing up was a nice surprise. Adonis, Murdoch and Gene were pure gold down in Texas. Bobby Heenan was a force of nature for his debut. As I mentioned earlier, the Sheik segment was quite long, but he was a household name at this point and was quite entertaining. I’d rank this up there as one of the best TNT’s so far. The trip to Texas and Heenan segments are worth watching. First we had a horse on set and now a camel. What live animal will show up next? We’ll just have to wait and see. Final Grade: 7.5/10
Dan: This was a so-so outing with some fun moments worth checking out. The matches were decent but the Texas stuff along with Bobby being Bobby helped elevate this show from the basement. I definitely could do without extended Sheik talking segments and at least we were spared from the nostalgia footage with no commentary that we usually must sit through. You can always win me over though if scantily clad ladies appear on camera for any length of time. Vince losing it though while reading those letters was definitely worth the cost of the Network. Final Grade: 6/10
Scott: This was a fun episode with terrific guests and great vignettes. Murdoch and Adonis are top flight heels and the tag team champions. Iron Sheik is still a great heel and the presence of Buddy Rogers added a certain special nostalgia to the show, like when Lou Thesz was on. The matches were even a bit better, as that Smirnoff/Slaughter match was incredibly entertaining. Smirnoff was a jobber but showed some teeth here. The Blair segment was great (even if I wanted Bob Bradley to turn on him) as well as the TNT debut of Bobby Heenan. If there was a top-flight TNT episode, this one is it. Final Grade: 8/10
You can find every grade and category winner from the entire Excellent WWE Network Adventure by clicking this link!